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Wrestling: Merrillville coach happy even though Penn wins his invitational

Merrillville sophomore JustJohnswrestles Chestertjunior KaitlLoehmer during their 113 lb. bout during Tom CamerWrestling Invitational Merrillville high School Saturday Dec. 8

Merrillville sophomore Justin Johnson wrestles Chesterton junior Kaitlin Loehmer during their 113 lb. bout during the Tom Cameron Wrestling Invitational at Merrillville high School Saturday, Dec. 8, 2012, in Merrillville, Ind. | Scott M. Bort~For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: January 10, 2013 6:45AM



MERRILLVILLE — Shawn Streck admitted he was a little nervous going up against South Bend Clay senior Shakir Carr.

Merrillville’s freshman heavyweight didn’t wrestle like he was nervous at all as he pinned Carr in the second minute of the first period in their fourth round match at the Pirates’ Tom Cameron Invitational Saturday.

“I was a little bit nervous, but I just wrestled my match,” said Streck, who is now 11-0, after winning all five of his matches.

When asked if he was surprised by his success being a first-year wrestler, Streck smiled and shrugged.

“I surprised myself maybe a little bit,” he smiled.

In fact, the way Streck’s been wrestling, the only people who might be nervous are his opponents. Streck was one of five Merrillville wrestlers to finish 5-0 as the Pirates, ranked No. 5 by IndianaMat.com, took second place by whipping Chesterton 51-12 in the fifth round.

“Most of my guys got four or five matches in today, so it was a good day,” Pirates’ coach Dave Maldonado said. “At this point, I’m not worried about records or anything like that. We just want to make sure we’re always getting better and we’re doing all of the right things.”

Penn, No. 8 on IndianaMat.com, captured the invite crown with its 36-28 second round win over the Pirates.

“It’s one of those things where things just didn’t go our way in that match,” Maldonado said. “It’s early in the season and we’re still trying to figure things out.”

Mike Garza (106), Adam Garica (126), freshman Jacob Covaciu (132) and Matt Hollins (170) all went 5-0 Saturday. Hollins was bumped to 170, when Pirates’ star Bobby Steveson was held out due to illness. Eric Deluna (flu) also didn’t compete.

“I think once we get everybody healthy and we get everyone at the weights they need to be, we’ll be OK,” Maldonado said.

Chesterton, which beat Penn in the fourth round 31-30, won three matches, including two that ended in ties by IHSAA tiebreaker criteria, and placed third.

Coach Chris Joll’s team and Penn fought to a 30-all deadlock, but the Trojans won the match after being awarded one point based on criteria ‘D’ of the IHSAA rule book — greater number of matches won.

Chesterton’s second round match with Lafayette Harrison also ended in a tie (37-37) but the Trojans won (38-37) after being awarded one point based on criteria ‘H’ — total match points of the first points scored.

“We won two dual meets by criteria, so I don’t know what to say,” Joll said. “We really haven’t wrestled our best yet.”

Chesterton’s Chris Katsafaros went 5-0 with four pins at 145 pounds, while sophomore Sawyer Hallas went 4-1 at 152. Jaycee Jensen was 4-1 at 170, while Tyler Gillespie went 3-0 at 182. Joll said he was most impressed by freshman Luke Zelenika at 138.

“I thought he wrestled awesome today,” Joll said.

Kankakee Valley, which won two of its five matches, had Tim Schoonveld (182), Joel Bolen (195) and Matt Berdine (220) all finish 5-0.

“I always expect Schoonie and Bolen to do well,” KV coach Tom Dellahan said. “Berdine, he’s a little bit of a surprise, because he’s missed 12 matches this year. Overall, I thought we’d do a little better against Merrillville and Penn, but what are you going to do? After those matches, we were gassed by the time we got to Harrison.”



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